OdishaPlus Bureau

The global stroke community comes together to pledge: ‘Together we can be #GreaterThan Stroke’. What about you?

IFI Foundation, a new non-profit launched in India in 2023 & a member of World Stroke Organization, is hosting a series of public awareness and stakeholder engagement activities in run up to World Stoke Day 2023, supported by various national level partners from the government & professional bodies, under the Public Health sector.

In sync with the theme of World Stroke Day 2023, ‘Together we can be #GreaterThan Stroke’, IFI launches a 2-week long campaign with a series of informational videos for the digital media, a comprehensive newsletter in vernacular language, a media awareness workshop and a conclave consisting of a technical session and valedictory ceremony. The campaign is titled ‘Stroke Mukta Jeebana’ or ‘Life Free from Stroke’.

The public health awareness initiative which took off on 16th October shall continue till the end of the month encompassing 29th October, the global day for stroke. The campaign shall explore the reach and public engagement in the web and social channels of leading digital media platforms of the partners like ‘Swasthya Plus Network’ & ‘OdishaLIVE’.

As per a recent Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) report – Odisha, a state in the eastern part of India, has a high stroke burden. With its present headquarters in the said region IFI Foundation pulls together national level partners like ‘ICMR Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar’, ‘Indian Public Health Association’ (IPHA) & ‘Public Health Foundation of India’ (PHFI) as knowledge partners to enrich and widen the programs. Moreover, a national level super-specialty healthcare chain ‘CARE Hospitals’ has also joined hands under the initiative.

Media Awareness Workshop:

Stroke has become a major public health challenge globally, leading to death & disability. However, it is preventable and we can reduce the burden of stroke with a modifiable lifestyle. Health specialists and public health experts advise the media and communication fraternity to spread awareness on the subject.

Joining the state level media workshop organized by IFI Foundation and its collaborators, on 18th October 2023 at Bhubaneswar, senior neurologist Dr Subhransu S Jena said, “Every 6 seconds one person dies of Stroke in India. However, in large number of cases, meaningful clinical intervention is not possible due to the delay in bringing the patients to a stroke-ready facility. Thus, awareness on this silent killer should start from each individual”. He spoke on the theme ‘Stroke 101’ for the wider understanding of the media persons.

At the opening of the workshop, Chairman of the Campaign SBCC expert & media personality Nilambar Rath, welcomed the participants which had a unique mix of media persons, development sector professionals and media students. He set the context highlighting that the last century was a fight against Communicable Diseases while the Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the bane of this century, ringing alarm bells globally. Over 50 communicators including reporters and copy editors, newsroom leaders, communication specialists, producers & presenters and freelancers from print, radio, television and digital domains took part in the session. They actively engaged and interacted on various facets of stroke including its implications on public health and how media can be a catalyst towards reducing the stroke burden.

“Among the NCDs, Stroke is taking a major toll on global health and thus impacts long term development of a nation. So, the media in all forms can play a crucial role in making people aware on stroke, identifying its symptoms and exploring the golden hour to save lives. Similarly, the communication professionals can influence policymakers for prioritizing measures in preventing and strengthening stroke care”, advocated Dr PKB Patnaik, a public health specialist and the former nodal officer for NCD with Govt of Odisha.

Informational Videos:

Under the campaign, a series of informational videos are lined-up with interviews of doctors covering different aspects of stroke, like prevention, symptoms, early detection, concept of BEFAST, treatment and post stroke care. The series also emphasizes on highlighting the high-risk behaviors that lead to stroke and how modified lifestyle can reduce the burden of the disease on population.

The videos are posted and promoted across 10 different social media platforms of Swasthya Plus Network and OdishaLIVE contributing fact-based & high-quality contents to the web media space.

Modern physiotherapy plays an important role in the post-stroke therapy contributing in early recovery of the patients. To inform the stroke patients and their families on these benefits the campaign has conceived 3 separate videos covering the fields like physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy based on the interviews of the Director & Sr therapists at Swami Vivekanand National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research (SVNIRTAR).

Stroke Conclave:

IFI Foundation and the partners are going to host a conclave on 27th October 2023 at the state capital of Odisha, prior to World Stroke Day, to engage the key stakeholders on the dialogue around ‘Together we can be #GreaterThan Stroke’.

As a part of the technical panel policy makers, public health specialists & members of civil society and media shall be engaged in a discussion for reducing stroke and building stroke-ready facilities while focusing on quality post-stroke. Similarly, valedictory ceremony will bring the stroke collaborators together under the foundation and pledge for the road ahead. Public Health specialists and institutions from the sector will be felicitated at this concluding event.

Veteran mediaperson & communication specialist Mr. Nilambar Rath, Founder Editor & CEO OdishaLIVE, is the Campaign Chair for ‘Stroke Mukta Jeebana’ or ‘Life Free from Stroke’. Similarly Executive Director IFI Foundation & Founder CEO Swasthya Plus Sidharth Rath leads the initiative as Campaign Director. Senior Neurologist Dr Subhransu S Jena & Public Health Specialist and Director Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) Prof Dr Shridhar Muralidharrao Kadam are on-boarded as Campaign Advisors.

“During the event, we will be bringing together important national stakeholders to discuss on the many facets of interventions needed to better prevent & respond to stroke. The event will be an effort to foster collaboration & accelerate action towards fighting stroke in India”, says Campaign Director Sidharth Rath.